Home News Industry Updates Proposed Building for Climate Change amendments released

March 2023

Proposed Building for Climate Change amendments released

27 Feb 2023, Industry Updates, News, Sustainability Focus

The government has proposed an amendment to the Building Act which would introduce energy ratings for buildings, as well as waste minimisation plans to support New Zealand’s climate change goals

The Ministry of Building, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) says that proposed Building for Climate Change amendments would include three changes to the Building Act. These would be:

  • Make it mandatory for new and existing public, industrial and large-scale residential buildings (such as multi-story apartment buildings) to hold energy performance ratings.
  • Require those intending to undertake certain building or demolition work to have a waste minimisation plan.
  • Change the principles and purpose of the Building Act to clarify that climate change is a key consideration.

According to MBIE, the amendments are designed to lessen waste, reduce demand on the energy sector and build a better future for New Zealanders.

They will be supported via additional initiatives being developed through the Building for Climate Change programme that will focus on reducing embodied carbon and “improving operational efficiency in new buildings” says MBIE.

Energy performance

“The proposed amendments to the Act will make it clear that it is a core responsibility of the building and construction sector to consider the impact of climate change and the resilience of buildings,” says MBIE.

The amendments will provide building owners, prospective owners and tenants with information so they can take action to improve building energy efficiency.

“Providing building users and owners with an assessment of current energy use and practical options to reduce this will help reduce their energy bills and better manage peak electricity demand.”

MBIE says the changes will be phased in over time and applied to large public, industrial and commercial buildings and large-scale residential buildings.

Waste minimisation

The proposed amendments will establish national requirements for waste minimisation, which aims to generate cost savings and help ease supply chain pressures by encouraging more efficient use of materials.

“Given construction and demolition waste accounts for up to half of all waste in our landfills and can drive a proportion of construction costs, this is an important area to address,” says MBIE.

Hon Dr Megan Woods, Minister for Housing, Energy and Resources and Building and Construction said that energy performance ratings could lower costs for building owners.

“Energy performance ratings… are popular with many building owners and the wider sector, because they help improve understanding of energy use while acting as an extra incentive for making better energy efficiency decisions,” said Woods.

“Energy performance ratings could help lower energy bills and reduce costs by providing building users with the tools to better manage peak electricity demand. A higher rating could even increase a property’s value or rentability. One study found an 8% increase in asset value of energy performance rated buildings over those without ratings.”

The amendments will be introduced to the Building Act in 2023 and changes are expected to be phased in from 2025.

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